The Best Tips for Buying an RV to Live In

Buying an RV to live in is a major decision that can affect your finances, relationships and lifestyle. For some owners, it has proven to be one of the best decisions for their living situation.

Whether you want to embrace the nomadic lifestyle or park your RV and live stationary, an RV can be a great home. However, when looking for a full-time residence rather than a weekend home, the choices look a little different.

Today, we’re sharing some of the best tips for buying a mobile home to live in. We wish we had these tips when we were shopping years ago!

Let’s get started!

Can you live permanently in a mobile home?

You can live permanently in a mobile home. Many people choose to live in a mobile home, either to enjoy living in a small space or to take advantage of the potential financial savings. However, before you move your belongings in, you should find out about the legal conditions in the place where you want to live.

In some areas, a mobile home is not considered a dwelling. They often require on-site amenities such as electricity, water, or waste disposal. If you do not have these facilities, there may be strict time restrictions on how long you can stay in your RV.

Do yourself a favor and read up on the legal aspects of living permanently in a mobile home before you venture too far. You don’t want to make a financial commitment without knowing the rules and regulations. Otherwise, you could be making a very costly mistake.

Is life hard in a mobile home?

Living in a mobile home can be challenging, but it depends a lot on your situation and preferences. For many who move into their RV, the transition is relatively easy. For others, however, it can be overwhelming.

Even the largest RVs aren’t much bigger than a few hundred square feet. Before you buy an RV, you need to downsize your possessions and maintain a minimalist lifestyle. Those who like to have a large living area might find living in such a small space challenging.

Plus, you don’t have to live in a mobile home for long before you realize how much maintenance it needs. It’s part of the lifestyle to take care of maintenance and repairs. Otherwise, your precious home on wheels could fall apart before you know it.

Can you save money by living in a mobile home?

With housing costs rising across the country, many are considering living in an RV to save money. However, while this lifestyle is a great way to save money, that’s not always the case. In some situations, living in a mobile home can be more expensive than a brick home.

Those who save the most money tend to live stationary in their mobile home. The less you move, the easier it is to save money. Many RV parks and campgrounds offer long-term stays and deep discounts for stays of several weeks or months.

Plus, you can save even more if you own the property where you live with your RV. It’s important to know that expenses can add up quickly if you’re planning a road trip across the country.

Campsites and fuel aren’t cheap. When you factor in monthly payments for the tow vehicle and RV, living in your RV can quickly become more expensive.

Which RV is best for full-time living?

There is no single RV that is best suited for full-time living. The needs of a nomadic extended family are very different from those of a solo traveler or a couple.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know what to expect from an RV unless you’re traveling yourself.

Also, the requirements for a full-time RV are very different from recreational camping. For weekend trips, you may not spend much time in your RV.

However, when you move into your RV, you will face inclement weather more often and will have no choice but to stay inside.

Take your time when shopping for a mobile home. If you don’t, you could be making a costly financial mistake. Visit several dealerships and look at as many RVs as possible to see all the possible options and features.

Tips for buying a motorhome to live in.

If you’re going to start looking, there are a few things you need to know. Here are some of the best tips for buying a mobile home that we think will be helpful when shopping. Let’s go!

First rent different types of motorhomes

As we mentioned earlier, it’s incredibly hard to know what you want from an RV without actually using it. Unlike car dealers, RV dealers generally do not allow you to “test drive” an RV. However, if you rent several RVs, you can get a taste of what life in an RV is like and what you can expect.

It will cost you some money, but if it helps you avoid buying the wrong RV, it’s well worth it. You can find many RV rentals through RVShare and Outdoorsy.

For the right price, thousands of RV owners will loan you their vehicle for a trip. If you are serious about buying an RV to live in, this is a good first step.

A large fifth wheel parked outside.

Determine your budget

You need to look at your finances and set a realistic budget. Understand all the costs associated with your lifestyle.

Don’t forget about campground fees, full time RV insurance, and maintenance costs. RVs can be quite expensive, and if you’re not careful, you could find yourself in a financial bind.

Think carefully about what you need

Before you buy a motorhome to live in, be clear about your needs and wants. Maybe you want a big fifth wheel with a fold-out porch and plenty of room. But is that what you need?

For a family with multiple children, making sure everyone has enough room to spread out can be a need.

If you need an RV with multiple bathrooms or an outdoor kitchen, don’t waste your time looking for RVs that don’t have these amenities.

With so many RVs to choose from, don’t spend time unnecessarily shopping for vehicles that don’t meet your needs.

Choose a reputable dealer

We’ve heard some horror stories from RV owners who have had bad experiences with their dealer. You want to be sure that your dealer will be there for you, even after you sign on the dotted line to close the deal. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Take the time to read reviews and ask your RV friends about their buying experiences. Maybe they have a connection to a dealer they recommend.

Remember, though, just because someone has had a positive or negative experience doesn’t mean the same is true for you.

Read more: There are tons of RV dealers out there, but you need to make sure a dealer meets these 6 must-have requirements before you sign on the dotted line!

RVs at an RV dealer

Hire motorhome inspector

Hiring a certified RV inspector can be a wise investment before you buy an RV to live in, even if you buy a new one.

These experienced professionals have a wealth of knowledge about the ins and outs of RVs. Many of them have seen just about everything you can imagine in terms of RVs.

An RV inspector is an impartial third party who evaluates the condition of the RV. He checks all major appliances and components to make sure they are working properly.

Once the inspection is complete, you, the customer, will receive a detailed report with the results. This can help you identify current or potential problems before they become yours.

Unfortunately, some shady RV dealers and private sellers don’t take kindly to a potential buyer calling in an inspector. Anything they find could cut into their profits or result in lost sales.

However, run away from anyone who wants to sell you a mobile home and refuses your request to bring in an inspector. They probably have something to hide, and it’s not worth the risk.

Consider the cost of maintenance and repair

Maintenance and repair costs can easily be overlooked when you’re looking to buy an RV, especially if it’s a new vehicle.

Unfortunately, these costs are an unavoidable part of owning an RV. If you want your RV to last, you need to take care of maintenance and address repairs as soon as possible.

We recommend building up a fairly large emergency fund for unforeseen circumstances. Blown tires, for example, are not uncommon in the RV industry.

However, these can cause thousands of dollars in damage to an RV. Without a chunk of change on the high side, your RV could be out of commission until you have saved enough to pay for the repairs.

Remember: One RV maintenance task you probably forgot about is stripping the RV! This task is especially important in colder climates.

A man performs regular maintenance on his motorhome

Depreciation not overlooked

Like any other vehicle, motorhomes depreciate incredibly quickly. Class A, Class B and quintuple-wheelers have some of the highest depreciation rates of any motorhome.

You may be able to make priceless memories with your precious RV, but the camper could be worth only a fraction of its original value in just a few years.

Many RV owners find themselves in a bind when they decide that RVing is not for them and try to sell their RV. If they have only had their RV for a year or two, they may find that they owe thousands of dollars more than it is worth. If they decide to sell their RV, they will have to write the bank a large check for the difference.

Is it worth it to buy a mobile home to live in?

Buying a mobile home to live in can be worthwhile. However, it is important to understand that it is not for everyone. You need to have a general understanding of the lifestyle to be sure it is right for you.

If you rush into a mobile home too quickly, you could find yourself in a difficult situation. Living in a tiny space can feel overwhelming, especially if you have multiple people living with you.

However, more and more people are getting involved with this lifestyle and falling in love with it. Will you be the next person to buy a mobile home to live in?

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